Jesse Jackson Jr. Pleads Guilty

Many people thought Jesse Jackson Jr. could have been a voice of a generation, but that has probably changed. Yesterday, the former Illinois congressman pleaded guilty in federal court to using campaign funds to purchase personal items. The $750,000 was spent funding his family’s lavish lifestyle.

Here’s a breakdown on what some of the money was used on:

  • $4,272.78 on the Navigator of the Seas cruise
  • $2,306.08 at Walt Disney World,
  • over $10,000 at Best Buy
  • over $300 at Build-A-Bear
  • $3,544.00 at Mariel’s Boutique
  • $5,687.75 on Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat
  • personal expenses at nightclubs and lounges topped $60,000
  • personal dry-cleaning expenses topped $14,00
  • Bruce Lee memorabilia
  • $43,000 Rolex watch
  • Mink Cashmere cape
  • $17,163 tobacco shops
  • $5,814.33 on alcohol
  • $31,700 for airfare

Although Jackson said his indiscretion was a momentary lack of judgement, others beg to differ. U.S. Attorney Machen said Jackson betrayed the trust of contributors who “donated their hard-earned money”. The fraud, perpetuated over seven years, was “not a momentary lapse of judgment,” Machen said.He called Jackson’s victims the American people and said that Jackson betrayed the trust of contributors who “donated their hard-earned money.”

Standing before the judge, Jackson waived his rights to a trial. “In perfect candor, your honor, I have no interest in wasting the taxpayers’ time or money,” he said.

A few hours later, his wife, Sandra Jackson, pleaded guilty to filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. She faces one to two years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $40,000. In court documents, Jackson’s wife stated she failed to report $600,000 in income from 2005 to 2011.

Jackson faces 46 to 57 months in prison, and a fine of $10,000 to $100,000, under a plea deal with prosecutors.

“Tell everybody back home I’m sorry I let them down, OK?” Jackson told Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet, according to her Tweet from the scene.

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